Reprinted from MarketingProfs, July 17, 2007Integrated? Strategic? Why Marketing Need a New MOBy Gary M. KatzWe salivate over the promise and vision of Integrated Marketing yet few of us trulyunderstand it and even establishing a common definition is a struggle.We long for a seat at the decision-making table yet, in many organizations, Marketing hasevolved into a low-stature mouthpiece and "cost center" that contributes little to theenterprise strategy and is treated as a necessary evil.Giving Up Our PowerOur power is further usurped as increasingly more organizations turn over responsibilityfor vital functions that were once the domain of Marketing to other departments: productmanagement, the sales pipeline, customer experience management.Many of us are working in Marketing departments that spend most of the time fightingfires and kissing up to CEOs, for fear that our corporate survival depends on suchcompliant behavior.Weve often settled for reactive, chaotic, dysfunctional work environments where weoperate more like order takers at McDonalds and company mouthpieces (spin doctors)than real change facilitators and difference-makers in our organizations.How many of us are really happy in our positions today, spending precious little time onstrategy and customer-facing activates, operating with few resources and facingexpectations that are growing geometrically?
Changing the MO of Marketing through Marketing OperationsLets face it: If we want to realize the vision of Integrated Marketing and StrategicMarketing, of a more collaborative and enjoyable work environment, of more stature andinfluence in our organizations, we need to let go of the old. Marketing needs a new MO.And we have that new MO right in front of us, if were not afraid to embrace it. Its calledMarketing Operations.Admired technology companies (like Adobe, Symantec and Seagate) are leveragingMarketing Operations to improve performance and demonstrate Return on Marketing asthey refine their Marketing organizations using an operational focus.Marketing Operations is an emerging discipline that increases efficiency and drivesconsistent results in complex Marketing organizations. It builds a foundation forexcellence by reinforcing Marketing strategy with processes, technology, guidance andmetrics. It creates both the infrastructure and ecosystem for individuals and teams tomake informed decisions about Marketing mix investment, gain committed buy-in fromstakeholders both inside and outside Marketing, collaborate synergistically acrossfunctions, optimize resources, and operate with discipline and accountability.Raising the Stature of the Marketing ProfessionOrganizations that embrace Marketing Operations are being viewed throughout theenterprise as profit (not cost) centers and fully accountable businesses. Marketingexecutives with the foresight to build a Marketing Operations function in theirorganizations are blessed with an operational partner, similar to the COO/CEOrelationship. Directors and managers gain an invaluable resource to help them get themost out of their Marketing programs, make course corrections and learn from theirexperience. Even the most inexperienced professionals gain by being part of a learning-oriented environment where they develop fundamental skills to operate effectively, stayaccountable, and benefit from Marketing Operations-driven improvement programs, suchas new competency development.Marketing Operations is all about a new MO for Marketing. In fact, it’s fair to say thatthe abbreviation for Marketing Operations (MO) is an apt descriptor of its potentialimpact in organizations. Marketing Operations is poised to literally change the modusoperandi (MO) of Marketing.And a new MO for Marketing in organizations is great news for all of us. We won’t besuch an easy target come budget cut time. The average CMO tenure won’t continue todrop to embarrassing levels (less than 23 months at last count). Employees won’t be somotivated to jump ship, taking their valuable, but siloed, institutional knowledge withthem.
Reclaiming Our PowerSo whether you’re a Marketing executive, middle manager or early-career specialist, it’sdefinitely in your best interest to become a passionate advocate of Marketing Operations.Embracing Marketing Operations is a win-win for everyone, but bringing its benefits intoyour Marketing function is an evolutionary process. MO is both a serious commitmentand a great opportunity. Like all change initiatives, it requires careful and comprehensivethought and exacting implementation. Key players in Marketing and other cross-functional organizations, such as sales and product development, need to be invited intothe process early on and need to stay involved to achieve stakeholder ownership and buy-in.The effort, however, yields impressive rewards. Marketing Operations has the power tore-position and re-energize a company’s Marketing function, moving it past stubbornbarriers to unprecedented levels of performance and success. MO creates the type ofMarketing organization where individuals and teams are empowered to do their best workand a culture of accountability leads to better results. This in turn raises the stature ofMarketing in enterprise.Leveraging the discipline and rewards of an MO approach places Marketing in theperfect position to influence strategic decisions and help increase corporate revenue,decrease costs, and sustain high levels of customer and employee satisfaction. Bottomline, embracing MO should be a no-brainer for every Marketing professional, from themost senior Marketing executive to the new junior staffer. If your organization has notyet embraced MO, you have the opportunity to seize leadership, increasing your value toyour organization. If your organization is already leveraging MO, you can work to ensureits continued success. Either way, Marketing Operations enables you to help yourself.Gary Katz is founder and CEO of Marketing Operations Partners, a ready-to-go COOand change management team helping marketing executives and their teams runmarketing as a profit center and fully accountable business. www.mopartners.com